At the PDA Berlin Event in February, Kevin Walsh, Technical Services Manager at Rapid Micro Biosystems, presented a poster entitled, 'Getting Lean: Benefits of Automation in the Microbiology Lab'
At the PDA Berlin Event in February, Kevin Walsh, Technical Services Manager at Rapid Micro Biosystems, presented a poster entitled, 'Getting Lean: Benefits of Automation in the Microbiology Lab'. The poster discussed the principles of lean and how they relate to the microbiology lab. He went on to explain the processes in the microbiology lab that generate waste from a lean perspective, and how they can be addressed through process improvements. Finally, the poster highlighted the additional benefits that automated technologies can bring to a lean programme.
As the poster outlined, no matter the industry or area of the business, there are a few key components of any lean project:
Creating a leaner process requires the identification and elimination of waste wherever possible. The poster noted the seven most common forms of waste are:
Manual microbial testing is resource-intensive and time-consuming. Samples must be collected and labeled, and taken back to the lab for incubation, enumeration and reporting of counts. This process involves multiple steps, and a lean initiative can uncover wastes and improve process efficiency.
With automation, however, the benefits of lean can be improved. By eliminating manual steps, automated RMM can also limit the occurrence of human error that can lead to unnecessary investigations, which can potentially cost a company tens of thousands of dollars. Because automated RMM can provide rapid results with fewer resources and less potential for human error, the following benefits can be realised:
Many quality control labs are implementing lean initiatives. It is important for the labs to find the right balance between all variables: speed, automation, workforce effectiveness. Adding automated technology to the initiative can help streamline processes and improve efficiency, taking the lean to the next level.